The long delayed arraignment of Andal Ampatuan Sr. for 57 counts of murder is
evidence of a dysfunctional justice system in the Philippines. While an accused like him has the right to a stay of his arraignment where he opts to challenge the existence of probable cause, the rules on criminal procedure nonetheless mandates that the suspension should  not be more than 60 days reckoned from the time of the filing of the Information. Our computation indicates that the 60-day period to which Ampatuan Sr. was entitled  expired in August of 2010. Yet, it is only today, 1 June 2011, when he is actually being arraigned.

There is more reasons to worry. Andal Sr’s arraignment was made possible
only because he voluntarily agreed to it. Never mind that the prosecution
has had a pending motion to have all the accused in  custody to be arraigned. The Court has not acted on this motion. This is alarming because seemingly, it was not the rules that compelled Andal Sr to enter a plea. On the contrary, it was only because he agreed to it- as if an accused can now rewrite the rules to suit his ends.

The Center for International Law, an affiliate of the Southeast Asia Media Legal Defense Network, private prosecutor representing media victims of the massacre, submits that an arraignment done in this manner undermines the country’s rule of law. Under human rights law, all accused should be treated
alike. Here, an arraignment, made dependent on the willingness of the accused to enter a plea, and not pursuant to the rules of criminal procedures, weakens and undermines the rule of law. It proves that some accused have more rights than others. This is a truly sad commentary on the state of our criminal justice system.

Neither do we think that altruism is behind Andal Sr’s  voluntary arraignment. To date, at least three of his sons, Zaldy, Sajib, and Akmed, have also not been arraigned, despite the lapse of the mandatory 60 days suspension. We believe that the voluntary nature of Andal’s arraignment is intended to deflect the public’s attention away from the controversy that has by now surrounded the Petition for reviews filed by Andal’s sons in the Court of Appeals. At least one columnist, Mon Tulfo, has written that at least 200 million circulated in the high court to effect the release of at least one of Andal’s sons.

Ultimately, this is why there is impunity in the Philippines. Despite a change in administration, the justice system is simply not working and its rebuilding- has not been made a priority.#30#



  1. Renato Pacifico says:

    Pathetic! It is time to outsource the government some place where the rule-of-law is followed. Filipinos are just irresponsibly democratic. The Philippine government are run by kindergartners.

    The Philippine government and presidents are only good as the people implementing it. It is no wonder Manny Pacquiao, Gen Garcia and his children, NOra Aunor, Filipino-American ex-cons prefer white lawyers because they know Filipinos cannot be trusted and are not reliable despite their being graduate from UCLA, Harvard and Columbia.

  2. Renato Pacifico says:

    Even as simple as filing INS petition form they go to Garfunkel to fill it up for them. DUH! And the ivy-school graduate Filipinos abroad are only good doing Affidavit in one-room, one-table, one-fax, one-old-computer outfit next to Philippine embassy offering photocopying and typing jobs.

    As simple as downloading pro-forma affidavits they still have a hard time figuring it out. PATHETIC.

  3. Renato Pacifico says:

    Manny Pacquiao is exemplar of excellance and inspiration and intelligence. Manny taught Filipinos in America not to trust Filipino lawyers. GO WHITE LAWYERS FOR EFFICACY.

    What is wrong with Filipinos? Will they ever change? Has diploma a mere decoration in the living room? Is diploma the end of education?

    Who are contributing to the dumbing of the Filipinos? I am dumb, but I learned a lot from the internet reading American newspapers than Filipino newspapers.

  4. Renato Pacifico says:

    Another what is obviously wrong to me but not to 99.99% of Filipinos is Philippine Media has propensity of quoting the nicknames of some hotshots. President “Noynoy” Aquino. “Ping” Lacson. And others. These are people of power. And Filipinos who are mere supervisors would droll and roll for them called “Sir”. Filipinos are power hungry. Wang-wang is a sure sign of power. “Sir” is another sign of power. Would any Philippine journalist care to call Lacson, “Ping” in public? What about “Noynoy”. What are these media practitioner trying to prove putting their nickname there if they cannot even themselves call them by their nicknames? I JUST DON’T GET FILIPINO.

  5. Renato Pacifico says:

    I do not know if my understanding of english report is correct because I have a Filipino DNA, like all Filipinos. But this report from “professional” journalist says that they need to do a re-forensic of 1,500 firearms to know which ones were used? Meaning, they have not presented this yet as evidence in court? Yet already convicted Ampatuan based on witness “accounts”? WoW! PHilippine justice at work. Or work-in-progress. No wonder Philippine corrupts go to America to be tried than be tried in the Philippines

  6. Renato Pacifico says:

    So they did not do any forensics after all !!! They have not done ballistic checks. How professional ! IT IS NO WONDER CHINESE GOVERNMENT SENT IN THEIR ROOKIE FORENSICS BECAUSE Filipino masters of forensics just simply sucks ! Some corrupt politicians have now known by now that they can always game the Philippine justice system considering the intelligence of people running it !!!!

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